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M: Maternity/Paternity Leave

Paid family leave combats poverty, gives children a healthy start, and lowers the wage gap between women and men by providing structural support to balance work and family.

Selena's Story

Selena's baby boy, Connor, was born six weeks early. As Connor was rushed to the Neonatal Intensive Care unit, Selena found herself alone in a hospital bed realizing that she was going to go home well before her baby. "There was no way we could afford for me to take off more than we planned,” recalls Selena. So after Selena had the baby on Thursday, she was released from the hospital Friday, and was back at her desk on Monday morning. “It was the hardest two and a half weeks of my life,” she says recalling the ache of being away from her newborn son. More

Read more in our collection of stories from moms and dads across the country about the need for paid family leave.

Know the Facts

  • Having a baby is a leading cause of "poverty spells" in the U.S. -- when income dips below what's needed for basic living expenses.
  • In the U.S., 49% of mothers cobble together paid leave following childbirth by using sick days, vacation days, disability leave, and maternity leave.
  • 51% of new mothers lack any paid leave -- so some take unpaid leave, some quit, some even lose their jobs.
  • The U.S is one of only 4 countries that doesn't offer paid leave to new mothers -- the others are Papua New Guinea, Swaziland, and Lesotho.
  • Paid family leave has been shown to reduce infant mortality by as much as 20% (and the U.S. ranks a low 37th of all countries in infant mortality).

What You Can Do

MomsBlogging on Maternity & Paternity Leave

Invest in Women to Reduce Poverty

Posted March 31, 2015 by Alyssa Peterson

This post, authored by Jennifer Lockwood-Shabat, originally appeared on TalkPoverty.org.  Jennifer Lockwood-Shabat discusses the results of a study published by the Women's Foundation and the policy solutions that can lift all women out of poverty. She urges lawmakers to expand their investment in women and their families. TalkPoverty.org is dedicated to demonstrating that we know how to dramatically reduce [...]

National Paid Family Leave: 2016 Needs a Champion

Posted March 30, 2015 by Susan Rose

LOS ANGELES (WOMENSENEWS)--In 2016, the United States deserves a presidential candidate who will make paid family leave a priority on the campaign platform. That candidate can take over from President Barack Obama who advocated for paid family leave in this year's State of the Union speech. "Today, we're the only advanced country on earth that [...]

Posted Under: paid family leave

King County Council considering 12 weeks of PAID family leave for all county workers!

Posted March 16, 2015 by Kristin

“When I had my first child I had to return to work within 3 weeks. I was teaching high school science…I only had 2 weeks of paid vacation so I used all of it. I only had a third week off because my daughter’s birth came at spring break.” – Holly, a MomsRising member Unfortunately, Holly's [...]

Another International Women's Day - It's Time

Posted March 8, 2015 by Megan Beyer

  Another year, another International Women's Day. But this year feels different. Suddenly gender equality in the United States is a front burner issue. In fact, women's economic empowerment is recognized as central to how we address both income inequality and economic sustainability.  Gender issues stand at that sweet spot: offering both political and financial [...]

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